Every tech support professional has prescribed the same, simple solution at one point in their career – try turning it off and turning it back on again. The shamefully simple solution has mysteriously great results and can solve many a problem in our day to day lives. Unfortunately for them, Google may be borrowing a page from their book by restricting third-party tech support ads from its advertising platforms – at least temporarily.
Last week, Google announced that is has begun restricting ads from all third-party tech support providers globally. Due to the sudden shift in policy, countless tech support service providers have seen their ads pulled from the Google SERP, the Display network, YouTube, Gmail, and other Google advertising platforms. This change does not impact businesses advertising their own support services – just third-party firms.
In their brief announcement, Google cites “a rise in misleading ad experiences stemming from third-party technical support providers” in their decision to suspend ads for the industry. In the past, it was an unfortunately common occurrence for someone to advertise on a term like “Windows 10 Support,” serve a misleading ad, and dupe a searcher onto their site believing they would be getting support from an official Microsoft representative. Sometimes, these services were downright malicious, hoping to collect passwords or other sensitive information from these misled searchers.
Although the news won’t be welcome to these advertisers, Google assures us that this is a temporary hiatus. In their announcement, they assure their advertisers:
In the coming months, we’ll develop a verification program to ensure that only legitimate providers of third-party technical support have access to our platform.
In the past, Google has introduced similar restrictions and verification processes for other industries it saw abusing its ad networks. In September 2017, Google restricted ads for rehab services and later enabled them to resume advertising after a vetting process in July 2018.
The hiatus of tech support ads from Google doesn’t need to be the end of your marketing efforts, though. In particular, Facebook hasn’t updated their policies to exclude tech support ads – so it may be an ideal time to optimize your Facebook Ads.
The search-obsessed tech support client may also find solace on Bing Ads, which still allows most of these advertisers. It may even surprise advertisers to know that Bing serves almost a third of all technology-related searches in the US. Additionally, WordStream data shows that tech advertisers generally see a 49% lower CPC and 23% lower CPA on Bing than on Google Ads.
Stay tuned for updates – we’ll provide more information once the new verification process for tech support providers is defined.
Mark is the Director of PPC at SearchLab Digital. Previously, Mark worked at WordStream and was named the Most Influential PPC Expert of the Year by both PPC and Microsoft.
See other posts by Mark Irvine
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